Introduction: Bear Encounter Safety

Walking, hiking or jogging on a trail, or camping in your

favorite campsite can often be relaxing, adventurous and lots of fun. However, running into a 7 ft tall, 600 lb, dark and hairy creature with sharp claws could end up being one of the scariest moments of your life. Yes, we’re talking about bears. Brown/grizzly bears and black bears are not as cute as they may seem. They are extremely protective, territorial, and aggressive and are almost always in attack mode. One way to make your outdoor experience pleasant and safe is to be prepared. Bears are usually out and about looking for a meal and you certainly don’t want to be it. Activate your fight-or-flight mode and follow these tips on how to stay safe and what to do in case of an attack by a bear:

Step 1: Hiking/Walking

1. Be prepared by carrying bear pepper spray.

2. If you spot a bear, immediately: Stop what you’re doing, remain still, and stay calm.

3. Quickly identify if the bear is black or brown.

4. Stay together in groups. Loud groups of people intimidate bears.

5. Make noise by speaking in low tones (do NOT scream for it may result in an attack).

6. Move away slowly and sideways to prevent one’s self from tripping and falling.

7. Do NOT run. The bear might chase you; they are fast.

8. Do NOT climb trees. Both black and brown bears are great climbers.

9. Move towards higher ground in order to make one’s self appear larger.

10. If the bear comes within 20 feet, immediately use bear spray.

11. Try to escape the area, or wait until the bear leaves.

Step 2: Camping

1. Check in with camping area rules.

2. Do NOT allow the bear to have access to your food. Place all food or anything scented in a bear safe container and safe area.

3. Know your surroundings and always have a getaway plan.

4. Always carry bear pepper spray or a weapon of choice.

5. Never wander alone.

6. Always clean up after yourself, and never leave waste behind.

7. If you do come across a bear in a camping site, use the same 1-11 safety rules in hiking/walking.

Step 3: What to Do If a Bear Attacks

1. Be prepared by carrying a first aid kit.

2. Brown/Grizzly Bears: PLAY DEAD. Lay flat on your stomach with your hands behind your head and neck. Remain still and spread your legs.

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